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World Environment Day: Global event shines spotlight on climate change

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Have you heard the news? According to a World Meteorological Organization report published on May 3, a global event is hours away and nations from all over the world are preparing for the occasion. June 5 is World Environment Day (WED), an annual “holiday” launched in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly. The event helps raise environmental awareness, political attention and the need for positive environmental action. People, businesses and non-profits from all over the world take part in the annual event.

With a different theme each year, the WED theme for 2014 is “Raise Your Voice Not the Sea Level” which focuses on Small Island Developing States and climate change. Small island nations are currently home to over 63 million people. While beautiful scenery, local culture and plant and wildlife help make island living prime destination spots, developing islands may face many challenges including natural disasters, waste management issues and climate change. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, global sea levels have risen 10 – 25 cm over the past century. The rise in the sea level is attributed to global warming. Some island nations are already being impacted by the rising levels.

Each year, a wide range of environmental activities and events are held around the world. No matter how old or young you happen to be or where you happen to live, everyone can participate in the worldwide event. A few small steps can make a great big impact when it comes to the environment.

Encourage your family to recycle and reuse in order to reduce our overcrowded landfills.

Reduce your use of paper by going electronic.

Use mugs or glass instead of paper or plastic.

Use a recycled, reusable bag instead of the plastic ones when shopping.

Start a recycling program at work.

Encourage your children to start a recycling program at school.

Walk or bike instead of driving.

Switch to compact fluorescent lighting.

Turn off and unplug appliances and gadgets when not in use.

We can all make a difference by purchasing organic food that does not contain harmful chemicals or buying locally-grown food that does not need to be shipped across the country to reach our nearest grocery store.

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